It's hard to know what to write as your first blog post, whilst you are amidst a global pandemic. I am currently at home, at the end of May with a bleak looking Summer of weddings.
Usually at this time of year I would be so busy, filling my days making wonderful women look and feel beautiful. The whole wedding industry has been completely turned upside down. Couples who have been planning their special days, are now having to think of alternative dates, or plans. Its heartbreaking.
However amidst this chaos, I have also been given the gift of time. Something I usually say regularly that I don't have enough of. So here are my discoveries along this Covidcoaster.
The first talk of lockdown, in all honesty I completely broke down. I was battling so many differing emotions that it just came out as a continued state of crying. I am sure so many of you can relate. I cried for my clients having to cancel or postpone their weddings. All that time and effort planning what should be one of the happiest days of their lives. I found it so heartbreaking for them.
I cried for my business and so many of my bookings being moved. I cried as I couldn't see my family and friends. But I also cried as my sense of control, my freedom, my ability to choose just completely went up in smoke.
Being a hugely organised person, this gave me my very first dose of anxiety, and I hated every minute of it.
The very thought of not knowing, not having a plan, completely in uncharted waters was so overwhelming and to think the WHOLE WORLD was going through the same thing. I refused to watch the news and my usually upbeat positive self was just a very greyed down version.
However around week 2 I started to miss my old positive self, and I started to try and find some sort of normality in this strange situation we had all been put in. I had to form some kind of plan so I could help my poor brides out. I had to reach some sort of realisation so that I could process this shit show.
The wedding industry I have to say have been amazing, we all pulled together and helped each other out in how we can look after our clients as well as our own businesses. After a few chats with peers I felt more confident which enabled me to be there to support my clients, and help them figure out a plan and make this work for them.
Image from Pinterest
Realising that I now have time
After managing all my poor brides weddings who had been effected, by moving them across to new dates where I could. I found my inbox was looking somewhat desolate. I found no-one was wedding planning.
I am a member of the Love hair tribe which is a brilliant place for us hair and makeup artists to learn more about how to manage business. Jo Irving ( the founder) was pushing us all to see this time as positive and to map out all the things we have never had time to do within our businesses.
This was quite a lightbulb moment for me, and I instantly took to the challenge. I soon had 2 A4 pieces of paper filled with ideas, aspirations and goals.
Then came my next challenge...
I am at home in lockdown with my 18 month old son, My husband needs to work 9-5 how can I possibly tick off this mountain list of productivity?
Then I cried some more. Whilst feeling guilty about crying as people had it way worse than I did.
Photo by Tarah Coonan
This isn't a sob story I promise...
Then came my second lightbulb moment.
All this crying only heightened my realisation of just how much my job meant to me. It isn't just a job for me. Its almost like an extension of me. My job is part of who I am, what I stand for and what I bring to the table in this world. I am whole heartedly consumed with the addiction of making women FEEL beautiful.
I've aways known that I love my job, but since this has happened it really has re-enforced for me that I am meant to be doing this job, that I would quite honestly be lost without it. This has only strengthened my confidence, and my ability as a hair and makeup artist. I know that what I offer is great, because I have worked darn hard to make it that way and I am so very proud of my achievements and where it has led me.
Why I do what I do?
It really is a special kind of job that I have. Firstly I get to be a part of a wedding morning, the buzz, the excitement it is contagious. It's one of the happiest days of my clients life, and I get to be in on that! But its more than that...
I enjoy getting to know my clients. I am a huge "girl power" fan, and I am all about making women feel amazing. So if my makeup and hair skills can help with that, and I get to meet some incredible women in the process, whilst getting excited for them for their upcoming weddings then this is WHY I do what I do. I tried other fields of makeup artistry, and although super creative, nothing compares to that job satisfaction of seeing a bride about to get married with a beaming smile!
Bring on July 4th dressed head to toe in PPE but at least I hopefully will get that buzz back...
So what have I learnt in Lockdown?
My number one learning curve was to cut myself some slack. I am a mum first and foremost and this situation isn't normal. Everyone is going through a whole array of emotions and everyone's situations vary hugely.
I sat down and mapped out a "realistic" to do list each week, which basically consists of a few hours work whilst Josh naps and a bit in the evening when he is in bed. But I am ok with that - its manageable. Plus I get to spend this TIME we have been gifted with him - probably one of the best things to come from all of this.
My grandma always said that "you can only do whats within your means" and she is so right! What works for one person, may not work for you. I decided that I should stop comparing myself to other people.. As YOUR story is completely different to others. So write yours how you want!
Some days you just need to do absolutely nothing, to allow yourself to breathe, re-centre and take things in and thats ok too.
Right now I feel pretty great that I have been able to help my brides out, that all is not lost, and that they will have their weddings. Its just somewhat postponed/ delayed. I keep imagining and saying to each of my clients, that when your day comes, just think of the epic celebration you will have!
I may not be painting people's faces right now, but I have learnt that I can be brave and put myself in front of the camera (completely out of my comfort zone) to do some makeup video's (Latest one here) This would have terrified me pre -lockdown and I would have laughed at the thought.
I have also learnt that 18 month old tantrums ARE a thing, and The Gruffalo is a godsend but thats a whole other chapter...
Photo by Victoria Somerset How
What I am hopeful for?
Through all of this, yes its been absolutely awful - a nightmare in fact. I am also hopeful for the day we can properly get back to "normal" that this "normal" will now be more grateful, more sympathetic, more tolerant, patient, kind, sensitive and above all strong. The resilience in all of us to get on, to survive, to try and make ends meet is indescribable.
The future of weddings I hope couples and suppliers never take for granted the beauty of friends, family and support. To never underestimate LOVE and what it stands for. Marriage is a celebration of that and I cannot wait to get stuck back in and embrace my LOVE for my job that much more!